Bio-Value SPIR project: Upgraded sugar streams

21.10.2013, News

The Bio-Value SPIR platform includes six projects and two subplatforms. During the kick-off meeting the 10th to the 11th of October BioRefining Alliance met Lone Bækgaard from Novozymes, who is a member of the board in Bio-Value SPIR and participates in a project about upgraded sugars streams from biomass.   

Lone Bækgaard, Department Manager at Biomass Technology R&D, Novozymes. Photographer: Julie Søgaard.

Partner: Novozymes
Project: Upgraded sugar streams

Novozymes is one of the large partner companies in Bio-Value SPIR. Besides leading one of the six projects - Upgraded sugar streams - the company is also reprensented on the platform's board by Department Manager of Biomass Technology R&D in Novozymes, Lone Bækgaard:

Why is Novozymes part of this platform?

 - If you look at it from a broader perspective we are currently in the stage where advanced bioethanol plants are being build. We have the plant in Crescentino, Italy, which has just been launched and in the next 6 months time will we see plants build by companies like POET, Abengoa and GranBio.

When these plants are up and running one starts to look at the possibilities for cost reduction and improving the process and product. Next step is to look at how one can use the sugars streams for other products such as biochemicals.

What will you more specific focus on in the Bio-Value SPIR project you participates in?

We will especially focus on how we can improve the sugar streams that are currently going through a fermentation process and become ethanol.

When you make biochemicals another type of purity is demanded - what type of sugar has to be present and how pure does it have to be regarding salts? Should it just be a C6 sugar or just a C5? Are oligosaccharides allowed?

In this project Novozymes looks at how we can improve these sugar streams by combining our enzyme technology with separation technologies.    

Which product do you expect or hope will come out of this project?

Novozymes' goal is to make the sugar streams pure enough for use in biochemicals. That is the challenge - making them pure enough.

In BioValue SPIR the general hope is that we can go through the whole value chain from biomass to final products. You can be ambitious and says that we have to go all the way, but it will not always be profitable.

In Novozymes we rather want to reach a part of the way and then be sure that this part will lead to a  profitable result instead of developing some technologies that is working but never will be profitable.

But of course, It could be cool if we during these five years can develope a process that shows we can do this.

Is there anything else you want to stress in this Bio-Value SPIR project?

It is really exciting to have this cooperation with other companies and universities. There has been a really good dialogue at the meetings and we got some feedback and inputs we don't usually get. But there are of course challenges, too.

As a company needing to protect its technologies and IP rights and at the same time share its knowledge it is important to find the right balance in the partnership.

So the right balance might even be a project of its own?

You can say that. We have already spent a lot of time working on a partnership agreement which all partners agree on.

But I am convinced that it is the right partners who are in this project and we can learn a lot from each other. Having a university past I look forward to include that angle again now, that I am working in the industry. I also look forward to the cooperation with other companies.

Additionally, there is the educational aspect where students can learn and understand what is important to the industry.  

Read more about the project: